Building a social media platform is vital for any writer, but getting started can be overwhelming and frustrating. You spend hours writing a post only to get three views – one is your mother, the other is from your bestie and the last is someone who made a typo in their Google search.
Why do we expose ourselves to this ridicule and torture?
Because publishers expect you to have an author platform and if you are self-publishing, most of your sales will be generated through your platform. And the more you do it the more you will enjoy it.
What can you do?
Sharing is caring, but you should decide what you are comfortable with sharing. You don’t have to share details of your private life, but social media is about interacting with an audience and allowing them a glimpse into your writing life. Some people don’t mind sharing their personal details and they post many personal things, others don’t. It is up to you to decide. There is no right or wrong here.
These are seven tips for writers starting out on social media:
- Build a home: You want your social media posts to drive traffic to your blog. Most blogging platforms are free. Try WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger or Posthaven. Most of them allow you to share from there.
- Keep it simple: Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to Social Media. Establishing a social media platform is time consuming. Don’t try to cover all the platforms. Pick one or two to start with. You can add more platforms later, but trying to put something up on seven platforms daily will be a challenge.
- Choose your platforms carefully: The more time you spend on a platform the faster and more effectively you will be able to use it. Spend some time on a platform before you start posting to it.
- Not for you: If you don’t like a social media platform don’t use it. This sounds simple, but often I hear people “You HAVE to be on this or that platform”. Each platform has different benefits for writers. Find a space you are comfortable with and avoid those that you don’t enjoy.
- Make a friend: Find and follow writers you like. Look at what they post. Share their stuff, but remember to put something up, at least once a week that is yours.
- Kill the deadweight: Shut down platforms that don’t work for you. If, like me, you have more platforms than you can remember make an effort to shut them down. An inactive account doesn’t look great.
- Less is more: It is better to have two or three platforms that really work for you. If you are happy with only one, stick to and do your best. You can share your posts to most platforms, e.g. Share your Facebook post to Twitter. You could use something like Hootsuite, but it might be overkill if you are starting out.
Authors should consider these eight platforms:
- Facebook is the biggest platform. The numbers are good. You can find and follow many authors. You have to pay to promote your page, or you can use your personal profile.
- Twitter can be chaotic in the beginning. Search #writers, #amwriting and #writetip. It is very popular with celebs and journalists as well.
- Pinterest is my personal favourite and great for inspiration. You will find tons of writing articles. The challenge is not to get side tracked by all the pretty pictures
- LinkedIn is good for freelancers. It is a great place to keep and update your CV. You can share the link to your profile with anyone who wishes to see it.
- Go onto YouTube and find videos of your favourite authors. Not only do they give you great advice, you can share the links to your platforms.
- Tumblr is awesome for all things wordy. It is a blogging platform and great for writers and especially beginner bloggers. There are tons of prompts and inspiring reads.
- Google+ is more organic than Facebook.
- Goodreads is brilliant for tracking your reading. You will befriend people with similar tastes and never lack for a book suggestion. Write and share reviews of books that you have read and post them to your blog.
Lastly, don’t let social media overwhelm you. Chill. Go at your own pace and share what you are comfortable with and as often as you are comfortable with. Get out there and get social. Don’t take on too much, be consistent and be patient. You will get there.
by Mia Botha
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